Estatización de La Rural

No Bull: The December 1991 sale of La Rural for US$30 million was just declared null and void.

It’s one of the largest convention centers in Latin America and has hosted millions of Buenos Aires visitors in recent years attending international expos like the International Tourism Fair and arteBA.

It’s also some of the most valuable real estate in Palermo fronting the Plaza Italia and across Avenida Sarmiento from another controversial prize and political football, the Buenos Aires Zoo.

The Predio Ferial de Palermo (aka La Rural) was inaugurated in 1878 and privatized in 1991 during the Menem administration. Four large convention halls were built in the mid-90’s bringing the total convention hall space up to 473,000 square feet. In recent years, La Rural was the country’s main beneficiary from the 600% increase in Argentina expo tourism since 2004.

Now the future of La Rural is uncertain following yesterday’s annulment of the 1991 sale and nationalization of the entire 1.32 million square foot parcel. The announcement comes only three weeks after Alto Palermo Centros Comerciales (APSA) bought a 25% stake in La Rural and announced plans to co-manage the convention facility together with Fenix Entertainment Group.

Speculation three weeks ago was that IRSA subsidiary APSA’s presence could mean the addition of new complementary real estate construction on-site including business and luxury hotels for La Rural convention goers. Cronista describes the news as “frightening” and a development which could “make noise” for shares of both APSA and IRSA today. (Full Story in Spanish)

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